Silver Pavilion Buildings – Kyoto

Last week, I shared some of the amazing sights surrounding the grounds of Kyoto’s famed Silver Pavilion.  Of course, the historic building is the reason most people travel up the winding, shop laden street to the gates of the building.  The Silver Pavilion started as the retreat of failed Shogun Yoshimasa in the midst of the Onin War (15th century)* and remains today as a cultural landmark.

The Pavilion is a two-story wooden structure with wood tiled roof.  Unlike the gilt Golden Pavilion to the west, the Silver Pavilion’s namesake color is not caused by metal, but by nature.  When you travel up into the surround forest grounds, the cypress wood roof shows off its spectacular design as the brown roof turns to bright silver in the sunlight.

In addition to being a retreat fashioned after the Golden Pavilion, it is a Zen Temple with a wide sand garden and a cylindrical sand sculpture after the form of Mt. Fuji.  There are numerous paintings in the various surrounding halls as well, with the main pavilion Kannon-den and Togu-do both being National Treasures.  The interior of the building is usually not open to the public, but the Silver Pavilion is a must see for any trip to Kyoto.

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* Varley, Paul.  Japanese Culture 4th ed.  Page 121.  University of Hawaii Press.

Some information is from the tourist pamphlet provided at Ginkaku-ji